Even without being asked, most of us are likely aware of our emotional state and how we are feeling. In fact, many people equate the two as the same thing, however, in reality, feelings and emotions are really quite different. According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, an emotion is the body’s involuntary response, much like a different kind of reflex, such as when you are faced with a dangerous situation and your body begins to pump more blood, your adrenaline levels increase etc. A feeling, on the other hand, is the process in which you become aware of said emotion. For example: “I am in danger, I’m experiencing fear, and am feeling horror.” Still confused? Perhaps this may help.
According to esteemed professor and psychologist, Dr. Robert Plutchik, humans beings have eight distinct basic emotions:
Fear – the feeling of being afraid
Anger – the feeling of being angry; or rage
Sadness – the feeling of being sad; or sorrow
Joy – the feeling of being happy
Disgust – the feeling of something being wrong; nasty, or distasteful
Surprise – the feeling of being unprepared for something
Trust – the feeling of a positive emotion; such as admiration and acceptance
Anticipation – the sense of positively looking forward to something
Now that we hope the difference between feelings and emotions is a little clearer; the next natural question is why do we have them? And while yes, we agree that sometimes they can feel like a burden and it would be nice to turn them off if even for just a short while, in reality, our emotions do a lot more than we give them credit; for us and to us, each and every day.
For starters, our emotions usually are a driving force behind us taking action. For example; let’s say that you are in school and find yourself with a big exam worth a large chunk of your final mark coming up. Chances are you will feel a bit of anxiety about it, and as a result, will likely buckle down and start to study for it. Or, on the inverse, our emotions can also lead us to do things that we enjoy, such as sitting at home alone, feeling bored, and then deciding to go out with your friends. However, it isn’t just getting work done or having a good time that is directly impacted by our emotions.
Charles Darwin, the esteemed naturalist and the man who came up with the theory of evolution, it is thanks to our emotions that we humans and animals are alive today. He believed that emotions are adaptations that help us to survive; for example, when we are feeling fear, we are more likely to flee what is causing us fear; when we feel love, we seek out the one that we love and reproduce; and when we experience anger, we are likely to confront the cause.
Emotions have played an important role in human evolution and continue to do so to this day. Our emotions help us to make decisions, they allow us to understand people and help people to understand us. However, while we are all familiar with good emotions and often don’t like to think about the bad ones, it should be known that emotions don’t just make a person “feel” a certain way, rather, emotions can actually make a person feel – as in pain. Especially when they are experiencing what is known as emotional stress.
Most of us are familiar with feeling stressed. Between work, kids, partners, and friends, for many, it simply doesn’t seem like there are enough hours in the day to get everything done, and as a result, stress is usually what a person experiences. However, did you know that your emotional stress could be directly linked to the manifestation of physical pain?
It is a growing belief among doctors and scientists that chronic pain may not only be the result of physical injury, rather, mental and emotional stress could, and likely does play a large factor. Are you experiencing physical symptoms or pain that you think could be the result of the emotional stress you are experiencing? If so, keep reading as we present the most common types of pain that are linked to emotional stress.
We don’t blame you for not wanting to think about stress, especially considering that most of us experience it all its own without trying to think about it. However, it is important for us all to learn about stress and what it can do our bodies because stress can impact nearly every aspect of our lives, from the way we feel, the way we act, the way we think, and even our physical health. And in case you didn’t know, that includes the knee.
The reason that emotional stress can cause pain in the knee is very similar to the reasons it can cause pain and discomfort in other parts of the body. Very often when we experience long periods of emotional stress, our bodies will begin to suffer from inflammation, which often will impact the joints (including the knee). Also, expecting stress can cause our bodies to move in unnatural ways, which can further exasperate an already potentially painful situation.
While it is impossible to avoid all stress in your life, the best thing a person can do is to be prepared for it in the event that it does happen. For example, understand where your stress and is coming from and try and deal with the cause at the source. Regular exercise and being aware of the way your are sitting and posture can also have a big impact when it comes to mitigating the potential impact of stress on the knee, and the body in general.